Monday, April 20, 2009

Company trip to Ho Chi Minh City

We all finally went for our much awaited company trip to Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. The original destination was Bangkok but because Thailand can't keep their shit together and the fact that there were riots, Nam was the next best thing.
The weather was incredibily HOT and super freaking HUMID! Not good. We stayed at the New World Hotel which was good - really good coz the airconditioning system was great given the fact that the entire country stinged on air-conditioning. We were there for 4 days 3 nights and we were proper tourist with a proper tour guide, coach and tags.
Day 1: We visited the War Museum, The Palace, The Post Office and the Cathedral. Dinner was on a cruise called the Bonzai Cruise with real delicious food.
Day 2: I slept in the hotel the whole day and skipped the tour thingy coz the day before, it was a late night. Dinner was at a famous seafood place called Marina.
Day 3: Visited Cu Chi tunnel to reminisce the Nam war site and the wonderful tunnel & defense system that the Vietnamese developed during war times. Then we went to Chinatown and the famous Benthon market for some shopping. Here are some pictures for viewing pleasure.
This is the Veitnam Opera House - very impressive if you ask me.
My colleagues & I - Ivan & Enyr
At the airport when our flight got delayed for 2 hours then cancelled and then delayed another hour - suppose to leave at 11am - but ended up leaving at 5:40pm. Not fun!
The pagoda
The kitchen at the restaurant where we had lunch on our first day - very cool really!
The food setup at the Bonzai Cruise.
The prawn dish that was served at the Marina Seafood restaurant.
More funky food!
Chicken satay & paper rice dish during lunch.
This was the "bomb" - seafood noodles and it was funky tasty! I had almost 4 servings of this! It's more of a steamboat style.
This was the steamboat mix.
The classic Mercedes E200 that was used by the Vietnamese President during the 1900's. It was on display at The Palace.
These were the lovely Bonzai Dancer at the Bonzai cruise. Falling in love in Vietnam is so easy! :)
This wasn't our cruise - this was another cruise that was there.
The helicopter that was used to transport President Kennedy (I think) during America's invasion into Vietnam. It hasn't moved since! I wonder if the engine is still in there.
The dining room at The Palace.
The President's room - apparently the ONLY room in the Palace where there is air-conditioning. The door on the right is the secret tunnel run-away for the President in an event of an attack.
Us - at the Palace.
Group shot outside the Vietnam Palace. It was hot - freaking HOT!
This is the tank that was blown up during the Nam War - since the blow up, it hasn't moved either. It's all rusty now but I just had to climb on it.
Coming out of the Chu Chi tunnel. Trust me - if you're afraid of narrow places, don't enter.
My most exciting moment is when I fired the AK47 and M16 with REAL bullets. Of course I had bruises on my shoulder but it was fun. I couldn't find a human target so I had to settle for fake targets.
The hole as small and I had lots in my pocket so this was all I could do. Some of my colleagues went in all the way.
A traditional dance with the Bonzai dancer. Not that hard once you got the rhythm.
Vietnam's Declaration of Independence.
The war jet at the War Museum.
My colleague had this wonderful idea of posing just like one of those statues there - it seemed fun at that time but now this just looks silly.
Another fighter transport.
During the American invasion to Vietnam, the US soldiers used this system to chop off war prisoners heads. Cruel bastards!!
More war planes on display at the museum.
The classic figher jet - wish I could have sat in it.
One of the tanks used during the war. Goofing around the grande launcher :)
The classic "must take shot" from the airplane.
Another one of those shots from the airplane.
This is my colleague Jessie - she was the one that I had all my gossip sessions with.
Overall, the trip was fun. Alcohol wasn't really expensive and the night scene is pretty cool. Wish we could have gone out more often but given the financial crisis, lots of cuts!
Besides the weather and the fact that the country is so "kedekut" with aircon, overall experience was good. Vietnam is the only country that fought so many nations in major war and survived from being conquered. KUDOS to that!!
Next destination - JAKARTA hopefully.
p.s. Vietnam has a rule - you can't bring any guest back to your hotel - regardless of the kind of hotel. If you wanna do that, you must get them their own room so guys - lesson well learnt.

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